24 Oct 12 - Clifford Marshall van Buren (MD), to stickist.com:
As a drummer and keyboardist the stick is a blast to play on!! I got my first stick last week and I can't put it down (except to go to sleep).
Polychords meet Drum Rudiments .... sooo cool!!!
21 May 12 - Eric Knapp (WI), to stickist.com: in response to Per Boysen
Per Boysen: ... The Stick must be the most unlimited instrument that exists;
except for strings sounding a bit different at different frets it is
in fact a non key instrument...
Eric Knapp: I sometimes forget this about the Stick and I think it's absolutely
true. I have shifted a song from say the key of C to B without a
second thought. Almost nothing else gives that kind of freedom. I
remember one of the famous song writers from early in the 20th
century could only use the white keys. So he had a piano made with a
lever that could shift the strings to other keys. The Stick is like
that only we're not cheating. I'm not even aware of the key I'm in
when transcribing a tune. I'm just thinking of the notes and chords.
01 February 07 - Jeff Reed (CA), to Stickwire:
I think the limitations of the guitar are what are compelling me to
move "Stick" wise too. I have played guitar all my life and feel
like I've been watching black and white television with the guitar
not being able to "fill all the holes" compared with the colorful
renderings attainable on the stick! I am wondering (aloud) how the
transition will be from the guitar fretboard to the fretboard of The
Stick. I look forward to creating my own grooves and compositions.
I hope someday I can post something on U-tube...maybe under "sticky
27 September 04 - Vijith Assar (VA), to Stickwire:
In my opinion, one of Greg Howard's most captivating Stick tricks has got
to be mixing two-handed bass and artificial harmonics. Both techniques use
two hands on the same set of strings, so he'll jump from one to the other
and back again in the blink of an eye, and a bright harmonic will pop out
of nowhere in the middle of the most monstrous bass groove you've ever
16 April 04 - Jeff McLeod (AL), to Stickwire:
I'm finding more and more ways to have both hands working together
with no regard for what's orthodox
(i.e. reaching over into the bass side with the left, swapping hands, using
both hands on the bass to work with larger intervals). I feel like it's wide
open territory. I know that there's lots of talk and strategies for
injecting melody into
one's music and style, but how about a little regarding what an amazing
instrument the Stick is for atonal and dissonant studies? I can get so lost
in this that my head swims with nasty sound possibilities!
15 March 04 - David Parr (TN), to Stickwire:
I use an old Ironwood Stick with light gauge strings and think of the Stick
as the best instrument there is for bending strings. The amount of
expression you can get from bending strings on The Stick is amazing.
It takes a while to master the technique, but when
you do you can play the blues with the best of them.
3 October 03 - Robert Schrum (MI), to Stickwire:
Being a keyboardist in my former life, I can definitely say this was the
case for me. I did different things in different keys--not consciously.
Improvisation was often problematic for me, as was sight-reading and
transposing on the fly--both challenges that attracted me to the
Stick--at least transposition--I always admired but never embraced.
3 August 03 - Greg Howard (VA), to Stickwire:
Last night I played in Charleston, WV. Not exactly a hotbed of innovative musical attitudes, but the response and turnout were amazing. I've found that frequently with towns most people would consider "off the beaten path, and therefore not worth playing in." No matter where I go The Stick continues to amaze and astonish, and I continue to be convinced that from all perspectives - sonic, ergonomic and functional - that it is the most fantastic instrument ever made. Thanks, Emmett.
18 June 03 - Glenn Turner (IL), to Stickwire:
I know exactly what you mean. Unlike the guitar, The Stick allows me to experiment with different chord/scale combinations at the same time. It's like I just cloned myself, and the clone is locked in perfectly, backing me up with just the right rhythm. If I find a groove, and the adrenalin starts flowing, I'm up for hours. What a great instrument!
11 February 03 - Jonathan Wheeler (UT), to Stickwire:
I auditioned with my Stick for this talent show at school, and the girls that were doing the judging told me that they would go out with me just for having The Stick. They aren't letting me play in the show, but I could have a date! This is really the coolest instrument :D
23 January 03 - Micah Ball (CA), to Stickwire:
Perhaps the advantages of The Stick as a solo instrument are more obvious than its other advantages. I picked up The Stick to play more parts in the context of a duo I was in with a percussionist. As time went on (and we broke up) I ended up playing more in larger ensembles. Now I don't really think of The Stick so much as a solo instrument, but as the best guitar for tapping that has ever been created. I've played other guitars intended for two-handed tapping, and normal guitars that have been setup for tapping, and none of them even come close to The Stick for ease of playing. So there?
Winter 02 - Nick Beggs (UK), to Bass Guitar UK Magazine:
It's true that the instrument demands a lot of the player but it actually offers more than any instrument I've come across. The MIDI Stick is versatile enough to sound like three instruments playing simultaneously and this is an enormous advantage to small set ups like a trio.
The one area where I felt The Stick liberated me most was in my own solos. The instrument is a blank canvas; it's what you put on it that makes the difference. Heavy distortion sounds love the Chapman Stick, it's as if they were made for each other.
3 December 02 - Art Durkee (MN), to Stickwire:
So, speaking as a 10-string polycarb player with "no frills", I find The Stick to be THE richest stringed instrument for exploring musical possibilities that I have ever encountered. Any style, any range of expression--it can do it all.
24 November 02 - Mark Wilson (CA), for Sunnyvale School for Guitar:
I play The Stick because of the treble-bass separation and performance independence it provides. My right hand plays through a guitar amp and my left hand through a bass amp. This enables me to play guitar and bass at the same time, thus creating a full sound and an illusion of a two-piece band. It's also a great tool for song writing because it gives me instant validation when shaping and developing ideas.
8 October 02 - Art Durkee (MN), to Stick Enterprises:
Personally, I agree that many of us may have felt pressure to make The Stick a legit solo instrument --it certainly has that ability, and the range of a keyboard--and indeed many of our most visible players have largely gone that route. (Touring is easier, for one thing). I play the occasional solo soundscape gig, but I LIKE playing with others.
8 October 02 - Greg Howard (VA) to Stickwire:
Admittedly, I'm not a "traditional" player in terms of most of the music that I play. But I've backed up a couple of singer/songwriting rhythm guitarists, and in that mode The Stick really excels over any other single instrument (think Fergus with Cockburn as a great example of this approach). As a soloist I'd have to say the same thing.
Watching Tony play with KC and especially with Liquid Tension Experiment would convince anyone that as a dedicated bass instrument it more than holds its own. The Stick can have a jack-of-all-trades quality to it; tastefully integrating that into a group context can be extremely rewarding (think Nick Beggs with John Paul Jones). I think the appeal of the instrument (and Emmett's technique) for soloists is the powerful combination of expressiveness, free-flow and expansive orchestration.
10 July 02 - Mark Smart (IL), to Stickwire:
I'm also getting excited about the two-hands-on-the-melody side possibilities. I've been messing with using two fingers on each hand to play octaves and just ripping up and down pentatonic scales really fast by alternating hands. Wow, it's so easy to play, and it sounds like John McLaughlin single note picking on his 12-string in Mahavishnu. Seems like everything is easier on this thing than on the guitar. It also seems possible to do closely voiced four-part block chords in a similar manner.
7 July 02 - Dale Bushnell (OR), to Stick Enterprises:
It is clear to me, after reading "everybody's" :-) histories, that you, Emmett, created something new - as new as the pianoforte was in its day. Sure there were clavichords, and harpsichords, and you can trace portions of the piano to them, but the piano was a dramatically different instrument, and even though there were precursors in people tapping on electric guitars, The Stick is just as revolutionary as the piano. It employs the potentials of a fretted, amplified instrument the way the piano employed the potentials of a cast iron frame and accelerated action.
28 February 02 - Micah Ball (CA), to Stickwire:
I've always tended to get inspiration from the instrument itself, but it's so easy to play by pattern on The Stick, that I've gotten lazy, and I don't really know the names of all the notes I'm playing (I know this isn't an issue for Steve). So now I'm embarking on the tedious journey of learning every little note, so that I can go back and apply some music theory to minimize the possibility of repeating a bunch of my own clich?s. It's hard to back up and play like a beginner again, when I know I can just turn off my brain and play some pretty decent stuff at about 10 times the speed.
25 February 02 - Michael Cox, to Stickwire:
Recording piano a hand at a time can't work because you'll never achieve the unity you would playing both hands together. The question doesn't arise with bass/synth or any other two sounds. I'm trying to relate "piano" to the "native Stick" sound here. Overdubs are perfectly appropriate until you want to capture the essential "stick" sound.
3 February 02 - Steve Adelson (NY), to Stickwire:
Is it possible that The Stick is so easy to play, that we don't realize it? I find it infinitely easier to play than the guitar. There are less shapes to remember, it's way easier on the fingers, a lighter touch with little chance of muffled or buzzed hits, and a menu of harmonic, melodic and rhythmic ideas that is unsurpassed. Like any instrument, it takes time to absorb the many possibilities. But my experiences with Stick beginners is that they play music almost immediately.
1 February 02 - Jim Kam (TX), to Stickwire:
The best thing about The Stick, though is because it is different, it puts you into a different mindset. Once you free yourself of the guitar/bass combo notion, you are free to explore new avenues, to seek out a different idiom. Because your peers are few and far between there is no reason not to develop a voice of your own. I was already a fairly accomplished pianist, and could hold my own on guitar when I first took up The Stick. Yet playing Stick has changed my musical directions in interesting ways. I no longer care to play piano or guitar. The Stick is so much more interesting to me.
December 01 - Jim Reilly (Canada), interview of Nick Beggs for Talking Sticks:
JR: The visual aspect still comes across though. Did you bring some of that visual, artistic insight into the musical realm? Did some of that cross over?
NB: Yea. I think I see music in terms of visual aspects. I hear everything as shapes. When I'm actually creating my own particular music, I'm always thinking of ways to present that in a visual way.
JR: Does that translate to The Stick itself? To the geometrical balance of the instrument?
NB: Yes it really does. I think that's one of the reasons why I became a Stick player.
6 December 01 - Glenn Poorman (MI), to Stickwire:
When I first got started, it seemed as though the people I ran across who knew what a Stick was, always wanted to pigeon hole it into whatever style of music the one person they'd seen happen to be playing. "Oh, that's a prog instrument" or especially from people who'd seen Culbertson I heard "Oh, that's a new age instrument". I know I'm preaching to the choir here but sentences like that are, of course, hogwash! Every now and then, that point gets reiterated to me when I see somebody like Nick Beggs quite handily jamming Led Zeppelin tunes or when I see pictures of Stick on stage with the Oakridge Boys (yep, honest). This instrument works for anything.
6 December 01 - Jeff Edmunds (PA), to Stickwire:
As others have pointed out, The Stick is an amazingly versatile and inspiring tool for composition and performance.
15 November 01 - Eric Wallack (OH), to Stickwire:
I have to agree with Glenn here. The Stick wasn't invented to be a sort of "one trick pony" - The Stick's greatest asset is its ability to function in any situation - versatility is built into the design and concept of the instrument.
23 July 2003 - Bill Kitley (MI), to Stickwire:
I'm actually a former bassist but I did the fingerstyle guitar thing as second instrument/hobby. That was one of the biggest reasons for me getting into The Stick. As you will probably hear more, a Stick is not a glorified guitar. You really need to approach it as a different instrument. With that being said though, I have translated some fingerstyle pieces to Stick that work very well. The separation of the hands gives you many more options for that fullness that you mentioned. Let's face it, on guitar you have 6 strings and for the most part, (exception - Hedges) you have one hand to fret the notes. On Stick, with each hand able to play notes and move independently, the possibilities are huge. You are not tied to how far your hand can reach nor to what notes are under that one hand. You'll find the logic of the instrument pretty amazing.
1 August 01 - Micah Ball (CA), to Stickwire:
Actually, lead playing is what I'm most proficient at on The Stick. When jamming with my drummer and bassist, I just naturally seem to fall into distorted lead lines, often with two hands. I find the tapping technique much more fluid and natural than playing with a pick, so The Stick is my choice for a blazing lead over guitar.
4 January 01 - Kevin Keith (CA), to Stickwire:
At least 95% of what I do can ONLY be done on The Stick. Most people hear my tunes and think its overdubs (common reaction to Stick recordings) but its all played live. Moving bass lines, chords and melodies simultaneously with a drummer. That's the magic of the instrument and that's only one of the many things that it's capable of! I have had nothing but great responses to The Stick in Los Angeles in every situation that I've used it in.
16 June 00 - Alexandre Rouen (France) to Stick Enterprises:
I showed my Stick to my guitar teacher, to friends (a guitarist, a drummer, a violinist, etc?) and they all had the same reaction: at first they find The Stick a "grand" instrument. I mean really well finished, with high quality materials, etc? Then they are stunned by the musical possibilities! I'm now really beginning to appreciate these possibilities, as I'm able to improvise now, and - (what) is great for a guitar player - alone, and without recording a chord progression before!
Spring/Summer 00 - Greg Howard (VA), to Progression Magazine:
"The style of the music is for the guitar, bass and keyboard to play the same line," says Tony Levin about the "metal" aspects of the band's (Liquid Tension Experiment) music, which features low, fast guitar, doubled with the bass. "The Stick is a much faster instrument than the bass and it speaks in a different way - clean, clear and fast down low."